Acute silver toxicity in the euryhaline copepod Acartia tonsa: influence of salinity and food

Pedroso, Mariana Saia; Bersano Filho, José Guilherme; Bianchini, Adalto


The euryhaline copepod Acartia tonsa was exposed to silver (AgNO(3)) in either the absence or the presence of food (diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii; 2 x 10(4) cells/ml). Standard static-renewal toxicity tests that included a fixed photoperiod of 16: 8 h light:dark and temperature (20 degrees C) were run in three different salinities (5, 15, and 30 ppt) together with measurements of pH, ions (Na(+), Cl(-), K(+), SO(4)(2-), Mg(2+), and Ca(2+)), alkalinity, dissolved organic carbon, and total and dissolved (0.45 microm) silver concentrations in the experimental media. In the absence of food, the 48-h EC50 (concentration causing effect to 50% of the individuals tested) values based on total and dissolved silver concentrations were 11.6, 87.2, and 163.2 microg Ag/L and 7.1, 79.2, and 154.6 microg Ag/L at salinities 5, 15, and 30 ppt, respectively. In the presence of food, they were 62.1, 98.5, and 238.4 microg Ag/L and 48.4, 52.3, and 190.9 microg Ag/L, respectively. In all experimental conditions, most of the toxic silver fraction was in the dissolved phase, regardless of salinity or the presence of food in the water. In either the absence or the presence of food, acute silver toxicity was salinity dependent, decreasing as salinity increased. Data indicate that changes in water chemistry can account for the differences in acute silver toxicity in the absence of food, but not in the presence of food, suggesting that A. tonsa requires extra energy to cope with the stressful conditions imposed by acute silver exposure and ionoregulatory requirements in low salinities. These findings indicate the need for incorporation of both salinity and food (organic carbon) in a future biotic ligand model (BLM) version for estuarine and marine conditions, which could be validated and calibrated using the euryhaline copepod A. tonsa

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